The Maroon

DreamWorks’ latest goes swimmingly

Oscar (Will Smith), Lenny (Jack Black) and Angie (Renee Zellweger) face off in DreamWorks´ animated film ´Shark Tale.´

Photo Courtesy of Dreamworks Pictures

Oscar (Will Smith), Lenny (Jack Black) and Angie (Renee Zellweger) face off in DreamWorks´ animated film ´Shark Tale.´

Gigi Alford

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DreamWorks Animation has built its computer-animated empire based on movies that are goofy and satirical so kids and adults alike can enjoy. While “Shrek” and “Shrek 2” parodied fairy tales, DreamWorks’ latest film, “Shark Tale,” is a send up of the classic mob film genre. Silly characters will make the movie an instant favorite with the kids, and the allusions to classic movies, celebrities and pop culture will tickle the brains of the adult audience.

If that isn’t enough, the voices for the characters belong to the who’s-who of Hollywood’s A-list stars, and the soundtrack could rival any volume of “Now That’s What I Call Music” with its talented, popular artists.

Viewers can’t mistake the hip-hoppin’, free-stylin’ voice of Academy Award nominee Will Smith (“Ali”) as our hero, Oscar. Jack Black (“School of Rock”) adds a lisp to his voice to play Lenny, the tofu-eating great white shark set to inherit the mob from his father, Don Lino, played by two-time Academy Award winner Robert De Niro (“Raging Bull,” “The Godfather, Part II”). Academy Award winner Renee Zellweger (“Cold Mountain”) does the voice of Angie, Oscar’s best friend at work who is secretly in love with him. She is dismayed when he comes under the spell of the gold-digging Lola, voice of Academy Award winner Angelina Jolie (“Girl, Interrupted”). You won’t mistake the lips. Multiple Oscar-nominated director Martin Scorsese does the voice of Oscar’s boss, a hyperventilating puffer fish named Sykes. His hit men are Ernie and Bernie, two fun-loving jellyfish with Jamaican accents by Doug E. Doug and Ziggy Marley.

Ziggy Marley also contributes to the movie by teaming up with Sean Paul to remix “Two Little Birds” – Ernie and Bernie’s carefree anthem originally sung by Ziggy’s father, Bob Marley. Christina Aguilera and Missy Elliot’s revamp of “The Car Wash” (originally a disco number sung by Rose Royce) and Mary J. Blige’s version of “Got to be Real” (sampled from Cheryl Lynn’s 1978 hit) give the movie, as Oscar puts it, an old school feeling. Original songs include Lola’s theme, “Gold Digger” by Ludacris and “Good Foot” with Justin Timberlake and Timbaland, sure to be bumping in the club soon since the soundtrack was released Sept. 21.

The Reef is reminiscent of an underwater New York City, complete with taxi drivers with foreign accents, billboards advertising Gup and Coral-Cola and a mafia of sharks. Here lives Oscar, a little fish who dreams of living at the top of the Reef where all of the “somebodies” live. He is convinced that as long as he works at the car wash where his father worked his entire life he will be a nobody.

Lenny’s gangster father Don Lino wants to pass down the mob to his sons, but he is afraid that Lenny might be too softhearted to handle being the top-of-the-food chain. Little does the Don know that Lenny is a vegetarian.

When Lenny’s tough-as-nails brother ends up dead and Oscar takes the credit, suddenly the Reef has its protector and its hottest celebrity. Lenny stages his own death at the hands of Oscar the Shark Slayer so that he won’t have to face his father. When the shark mafia comes after Oscar to avenge the deaths of Don Lino’s sons, Lenny helps protect the little fish that told the great white lie, and in turn Oscar helps the great white shark confront his father.

“Shark Tale” has the proverbial messages that you shouldn’t be ashamed of who you are just because you are different and that sometimes, if you open your eyes, you’ll find what you want right there in front of you.

In honor of the movie’s theme, “Shark Tale” premiered in New York City and Venice, Italy. The animated film opens nationwide today.

Gigi Alford can be reached at [email protected]

 

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DreamWorks’ latest goes swimmingly